Those ruefully considering expanded waistlines and depleted bank accounts common in the aftermath of Christmas festivities might pause to reflect upon the ambiguous nature of the Pope’s Christmas message. Speaking from St Peters Basilica in Rome, Francis urged Christians to forgo the greed, hoarding and materialism of Christmas and to focus instead on its message of simplicity, charity and love.
SURROUNDED BY THE OPULENT OSTENTATION OF A CHURCH OF UNPARALLELED WEALTH, HE SPOKE FROM A GOLDEN PULPIT, WATCHED BY PRINCES OF THE CHURCH RESPLENDENT IN GOLDEN ROBES, SEEMINGLY OBLIVIOUS TO THE INCONGRUOUS IMAGE OF BABY JESUS IN A GOLDEN MANGER.
Francis reminded followers that “We see Jesus in the children of unemployed parents who struggle to offer their children a secure and peaceful future’. Referring to the gluttony found in an excess of materialism he asked that we contemplate the paradox of “the few who dine luxuriantly while many go without the daily bread needed to survive.” Continuing his message on the Feast of Epiphany he recalled that “To find Jesus, we must follow “the path of humble love”. This is of course the very essence of the message Jesus brought and a statement of truth his church would do well to follow.
The ambiguity of the Pope’s message was compounded by his reminder of the need for “respecting and listening to one another” something survivors of sexual abuse by the clergy have implored successive popes to do for years. The irony of the image of Francis cradling the baby Jesus was not lost on those affected by policies which continue to fail to protect children. The well worn platitude “We are called to learn from him to forgive, to always forgive” fails to acknowledge that forgiveness is the last step in a very long and painful road which few who have been ignored find the strength or willingness to undertake. Those who have been betrayed and violated must first be acknowledged, spiritual law calls for restitution for without remorse forgiveness is incomplete.
The hope for 2019 is that children and the vulnerable will be protected, if not by the church which has consistently failed them but by the vigorous defence of the law and also that those who shelter abusers will be dealt with as severely as those they have enabled.
WATCH: Pope Francis urged Christians to forgo the greed, gluttony and materialism of Christmas and to focus instead on its message of simplicity, charity and love.READ RELATED STORY: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1066426/pope-urges-fraternity-in-christmas-message
Posted by INQUIRER.net on Tuesday, 25 December 2018
See: #Letters to Priests